Category: Technology

California’s drought and a Christian ethic of water

A few miles from the town where I live on the San Francisco peninsula, there is a monument to water: the Pulgas Water Temple. It’s a Beaux Arts-style temple, with a reflecting pool set in a green, grassy lawn. The temple bears these words from Isaiah: “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people.” The temple celebrates the 1934 completion of the Hetch Hetchy…  [more]

Stephen Hawking and the body of Christ

In an interesting article in the June edition of Epic magazine, Helene Mialet writes about people’s response to her 10-year ethnographic study of the social fabric (people and machines) that surround Stephen Hawking and allow him to be the Stephen Hawking we recognize and respect. As an ethnographer, Mialet is interested in how Hawking’s ability to do what he does as a scientist is dependent…  [more]

The approaching scourge of virtual-reality porn

Before the Internet, it was easy to think of pornography as a worldly problem far removed from the church. Videos and magazines could only be bought in stores, which required showing one’s face at a public establishment - something most Christians probably avoided. But by the time I was 15, I had a computer in my room with a wire to the world. Suddenly, pornography could be accessed at the touch of a button…  [more]

Monasticism and the Googleplex

Nathan Heller had me at the title: “Google’s Monastic Vision for the Future of Work.” Heller’s New Yorker article breezily condenses a decade or so of Google’s corporate real estate travails into a jambalaya of metaphors, all while describing a design project for their new headquarters that looks like the latest version of the Biosphere. As the headline hints, Heller lands, finally, on…  [more]

Asking hard questions about embryo adoption

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed this past Father’s Day, I saw photos of married dads, divorced dads and single dads; of dads caring for their biological children, adopted children and stepchildren. I saw, in other words, the diversity of families in contemporary America. Families today are created and configured in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago. This diversity is due to…  [more]

Ex Machina and what it (might) mean to be human

What makes us human? And how is that related to the way we’re made in God’s image? These are perennial questions that tantalizingly linger along the edges of the new science-fiction thriller Ex Machina, my favorite film of the year thus far. Written and directed by Alex Garland, who brings a cool mercilessness to the proceedings, Ex Machina imagines the birth of artificial intelligence in the form of a…  [more]

The new technology of social justice

In his seminal book The Prophets, Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel suggested that the Old Testament prophets saw justice as the supreme manifestation of God's presence. Heschel, a rabbi whose work carved out a place in both Jewish and Christian thought, was the sole survivor of a family who was killed by Nazis during World War II. "God's concern for justice grows out of His compassion for man,”…  [more]

Should we be “redesigning” death?

“With just a little attention … he might be able to refract some of the horror and hopelessness of death into more transcendent feelings of awe and wonder and beauty.” These words, taken from the California Sunday Magazine article “Death, Redesigned,” speak to a new understand of mortality in our culture. It doesn’t take much experience with death to understand how daunting the…  [more]

Audiophiles and spiritual fidelity

Audiophiles seem to be having their moment in the cultural sun. Neil Young’s PonoPlayer, which purports to recreate the experience of vinyl LPs, has turned heads, even as numerous articles aim to debunk the idea that vinyl sounds better. In fact, several corresponding arguments are conflating technical, psychological, emotional and even spiritual ideas surrounding the value of music and the concept of fidelity.…  [more]

Wealth in light of the Apple Watch

The announcement this month of the Apple Watch raises a number of perplexing challenges for Christians. A dominant theme of much commentary has had to do with the top-tier Apple Watch Edition, with options ranging from $10,000 to $17,000. These models feature rare crystal screens and precious metal cases. Apple products have never been cheap, but this new level of luxury represents the company’s recognition of…  [more]

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